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Tell me about Kreg Pocket Hole Jiggery

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Forum topic by Elizabeth posted 297 days ago 1230 views 0 times favorited 46 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Elizabeth

724 posts in 1646 days


297 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: jig kreg question

I’ve heard of Kreg for a long time but know nothing about them. I also have no experience with cabinetry and very little with building furniture – just an entryway bench once in a class.

I now want to make a Helping Tower for my son in the kitchen. I was reading one of many sites with DIY plans and it mentioned using a Kreg pocket hole jig. It’s not the first time I’ve heard of it, and I am curious. $99.99 at both Woodcraft and Amazon, and I think I have a birthday discount coupon from Woodcraft hanging around somewhere.

So my questions:

Do you have one?

Do you use it?

Do you use it more than you thought you would?

Do you have to buy special screws to use with it, or will standard hardware store stuff work?

Was it easy to learn to use?

Anything else to add?

Thanks!


46 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

6770 posts in 2151 days


#1 posted 297 days ago

Not presently.
Not anymore.
Used to use it often.

You need to buy Kreg screws for work in 3/4” and 1/2” material. Other
pocket screws, even if they are a teensy bit too long off-spec, can
blow out the other side of the work in corner joints. In a pinch
doing carpentry you can use drywall screws or whatever, but in
your best work I recommend the Kreg screws only because they
won’t blow-out if you drill the holes properly.

Yes. Easy.

I’ll get another one someday, or some other brand.

There’s a whole method to working with pocket screws. It is
fast but alignment is not as precise as you generally get with
some other (slower) methods. If you don’t mind the appearance
of the holes, it really simplifies joinery.

View muleskinner's profile

muleskinner

631 posts in 939 days


#2 posted 297 days ago

I have the Kreg Jr. I do use it. Mostly on face frames. I bought a couple of 100 packs of Kreg screws. Price wise they were comparable to generics. Pretty straight forward to use. It feels like their products are over priced (I think I paid $45 for the Jr.) but there was no buyers remorse on my part.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View fredj's profile

fredj

181 posts in 320 days


#3 posted 297 days ago

Yes I have one, and have used it many times. To get the best results you should use the screws that are made for it. It should come with a few screws. It’s very easy to use, however it is a good idea to have something holding any two pieces you are joining to each other as they may not line up if you don’t. The screws tend to pull the bore piece forward as they tighten. I use it more on cabinets than with furniture. The joints are strong, but not as strong as a mortise and tenon but far stronger than nails

-- Fredj

View toolie's profile

toolie

1684 posts in 1131 days


#4 posted 297 days ago

-i have two kreg jigs.
-yes, as often as i can.
-absolutely.
-not sure. i use pockete hole screws but i believe any pan head screw that meets the same dimension requirements of the jig will work.
-very easy.
- take care when aligning parts before driving the screws. alignment should be done precisely and carefully.

-- there's a solution to every problem.......you just have to be willing to find it.

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

724 posts in 1646 days


#5 posted 297 days ago

Muleskinner, would you recommend the Kreg Jr over the regular? I’ll look up the differences but if there’s any thought you (or anyone) have on that topic I’d love to hear them.

View Sanding2day's profile

Sanding2day

784 posts in 349 days


#6 posted 297 days ago

Hey Elizabeth, I’m not yet overly familiar with the Kreg joinery having just recently purchased the Kreg Master System but have completed some pocket holes in scrap and was very impressed. I would say that the system is a good buy and very easy to setup/use… Have some finishing up on the current project and then have one in mind where I will make full use out of this. I would certainly recommend using their screws as they work well and are comparitively priced but sure that any screw with the same specification would suffice. If you do decide to purchase, keep in mind their website is currently offering a $15 mail in rebate for the Kreg Master System purchase through the end of July.

-- Dan

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

1904 posts in 988 days


#7 posted 297 days ago

Definitely worth the money. It’s a very easy system to use. The kit I got came with a short DVD explaining how to use it, which covered a few points and features I would’ve glossed over otherwise. Look up any of the videos for it on Youtube. It’s a system that can be learned in about 5-10 minutes. For big projects like face frames and simple cabinets, it’s a huge time saver.

Like others have said, go for the Kreg brand screws. There are three very good reasons why.
1) They’re very strong, I haven’t had one break or twist apart on me.
2) The heads aren’t flat head or Philips, but use a square driver instead. That way there’s no chance of stripping or spinning out.
3) The threads are self-tapping, no pilot holes needed.

-- Brian in Arlington, TX

View muleskinner's profile

muleskinner

631 posts in 939 days


#8 posted 297 days ago

Elizabeth, I’m probably the wrong guy to ask as the Jr is the only one I have experience with. That said, I can’t recall any time when it wouldn’t perform the task I set it to. If I had money falling out of my pockets I’d most likely have gone with one of their more extensive packages but, like I said, at the time it just felt wrong spending 100 bucks for a package of essentially plastic dodads.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1480 posts in 996 days


#9 posted 297 days ago

Regardless of which particular set you buy, they are certainly handy and do a nice job. If you’ve ever watched the Scott Philipps show (American Woodworker, though for the record, I don’t accuse him of being a woodworker!) he’s used them for everything you can imagine, including hanging some fairly heavy shelves to the wall (he pocket holes the mounting screws into his supports. Rant aside, they are extremely useful, and the complete set gives you the flexibility to do just about any application you would have.

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

View Loren's profile

Loren

6770 posts in 2151 days


#10 posted 297 days ago

I used to go to a cabinet supply place which sells all sorts
of hardware and screws by weight. It was great to have
it so close. They had pan-head screws for pocket holes,
but the heads were a little small and wood over-drive into
plywood core. The Kreg screws for ply have a larger
pan-head than the ones for hardwoods and this larger
pan prevents over-driving. You have to drive them hard
to pull the joint together.

Anyway, the screws were a tiny bit longer (maybe 1.5mm)
and have a smaller pan-head… and in certain situations
they would not work correctly. I reckon they were
designed for the Castle pocket hole format, which is a
different angle and in wide usage in face frame cabinet
shops.

I’d look at the Sommerfield/CMT pocket hole system as
well. Porter Cable had a new one a few years back that
looked innovative but user reviews have been pretty bad.

I recommend drilling pocket holes with a corded drill -
the added speed and power keeps the bit cooler and
sharper.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

973 posts in 300 days


#11 posted 297 days ago

I highly recommend using the $99 model or up and attaching it to a plywood base. It makes it much more convenient to use. I only use Kreg screws.

I’ve used it a lot over the past 15 years, but less so as my woodworking skills have increased. It used to be I used it on every joint I made!

It can be great for cabinets and face frames, as noted. I, too, only use it now where the pocket holes are not visible. I tired for awhile to use their plugs on exposed pocket holes—way too much trouble and ugly as sin.

I also use it for all kinds of rough attachments. For instance, a butt joint with 2×4’s and regular wood screws is quite week—screws do not want to hold in the end grain. But use the Kreg Jig and the long screws and it is as sturdy as can be. I’ve made wood racks in the ceiling, stands for various machinery, a work bench, etc., joining 2/4’s with pocket screws.

+1 on the alignment issues. I’m amazed when the folks on TV just put two pieces of wood together and screw it in perfectly aligned. It will stay aligned until the very end, when the screw will pull the bottom board toward itself. I use the kreg clamps plus other clamping to minimize the drift.

i

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

724 posts in 1646 days


#12 posted 297 days ago

Awesome, thanks so much guys. I’m leaning toward the Master system now – with the $15 rebate and a price of $129 on Amazon, it’s not much more than the standard one.

Oh, and for anyone else considering the rebate, it’s good on purchases until June 30th, not end of July.

View muleskinner's profile

muleskinner

631 posts in 939 days


#13 posted 297 days ago

I may be overdoing it but frequently my process is drill holes, glue and clamp, drive screws.
On the few occasions when the holes were going to be visible I cut plugs and then trimmed and sanded flush.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3033 posts in 1316 days


#14 posted 297 days ago

Get the Kreg R3 Jr.
I like it best because you drill the hole with the workpiece clamped flat to a table. The master jig has you stand the workpiece on edge to drill the hole.
I do recommend the standard Kreg brand clamp, as it holds much better than an Irwin quick clamp.
Use the Kreg brand screws available at Lowes and HD for $4 per 100 count.

I use a hybrid approach to furniture construction, including pocket screws, biscuits, M&T’s, and dovetails. I look at each joint, and choose the approach that will work best. I never assemble a whole cabinet or project with only pocket screws, because it is too hard to conceal the screws. However, I can’t remember the last project where I didn’t include at least a few well-placed pocket screws.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View CudaDude's profile

CudaDude

95 posts in 811 days


#15 posted 297 days ago

Have one and it’s great. Try to find things to use it on just to use it. I used it to do some framing for my master bath remodel and used regular wood screws and it worked fine. For joinery that will be exposed though i’d use the Kreg screws. I was really apprehensive about spending that kind of money on the master set, but i don’t regret it a bit now.

-- Gary

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